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Current Topic: History

Knights Templar secrets revealed -
Topic: History 6:46 pm EDT, Oct 12, 2007

The Vatican has published secret archive documents about the trial of the Knights Templar, including a long-lost parchment that shows that Pope Clement V initially absolved the medieval Christian order from accusations of heresy, officials said Friday.

I have to admit amusement about the current media frenzy on the Knights Templar, though I understand the background for it. Tomorrow, October 13, 2007, will be the 700-year anniversary of the date that King Philip IV of France made a power play to get out from under some financial debts -- he simultaneously had many Templars in France arrested, charged with various types of heresy, tortured into "confessions" and then burned at the stake.

Probably because of this anniversary, the Vatican is releasing some documents from its "secret archives." Or at least, they're publishing a book about it.

The story is getting picked up by the major news portals: BBC, CNN, AOL, etc, partially because it sounds cool, and partially because of some remnants of "Da Vinci Code" fascination.

Traffic to the Wikipedia page has picked up, which I've noticed because, well, I wrote most of the page. :) I'd also arranged for the article to get bannered on the Wikipedia mainpage ( on October 13, which should start at GMT time in about an hour or so.

As for the "news", I have to smile a bit, because it's *not* news. This "secret document", the Chinon Parchment, actually came to light several years ago. Multiple history books have already been written which take the new information into account. So it's not really "new" to historians, but I guess it's new to pop culture, so at least the news gets out that way, even if a few years behind.

I've also been watching with amusement and a bit of horror at just what the major news agencies are saying about the Templars. Most of them are keeping the information minimal, because it's obvious that they don't know what's true and what's false. And in at least one case (the BBC, interestingly enough) they published some information that was just flat out wrong.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that Templars are getting some credible press attention, I'm glad that they're getting public acknowledgement that they weren't an evil secret society, I'm glad that the anniversary is starting with a bang, and I'm glad that a page I wrote on Wikipedia, is getting a lot of attention.

So anyone that's having a drink this weekend, please try to remember the date, lift your glass high, and toast, "To the Knights Templar!" :)

Elonka :)

Knights Templar secrets revealed -

CIA history: 'The Good Shepherd'
Topic: History 10:06 pm EST, Jan  7, 2007

"The Good Shepherd" often mixes historical fact with fiction

I just saw "The Good Shepherd", a movie about the origins of the CIA. The following link has an article which covers some of the actual historical events which the movie was based on.

If anyone else has a good "fact and fiction" link which analyzes the historical basis of the movie, I would be interested in reading it.


CIA history: 'The Good Shepherd'

Polish Order of the Virtuti Militari Recipients (1792-1992)
Topic: History 8:23 pm EST, Dec 26, 2005


The "Virtuti Militari" is a Polish medal that is equivalent to the American Medal of Honor. This page has a list of the recipients. Antoni Dunin was my grandfather, who died in battle as a First Lieutenant at the age of 32, during the German Blitzkrieg. Our family history was pretty much shredded by World War II, so bit by bit, I'm piecing it back together. I don't know the details of why he was awarded this medal, but someday I will find out . . .


Polish Order of the Virtuti Militari Recipients (1792-1992)

Guns Germs & Steel . The Show . PBS
Topic: History 5:07 pm EDT, Jul 11, 2005

Guns, Germs and Steel screens across the country on PBS from July 11 for three weeks on Monday nights at 11pm in most cities.

Heh, I find out more about my cousin Jared's work via Memestreams, than I do from family. Thanks Decius, for the heads-up. I'll let various cousins know, and set my TiVo accordingly. :)

Guns Germs & Steel . The Show . PBS

C-Span Transcript: Interview with President Bush: January 27, 2005
Topic: History 1:02 pm EST, Feb  2, 2005

I liked this interview because it was a more casual and candid chat with President Bush. He talked about books he's reading, what his exercise routine is, and other personal details about his typical day. I found it very interesting.

C-Span Transcript: Interview with President Bush: January 27, 2005

RE: Test your knowledge - US geography
Topic: History 4:05 pm EST, Jan 14, 2005

skullaria wrote:
] I did 72% with an average of 80 miles error.
] What's your score?

On first try: 88%, 16 miles, 277 seconds. Those New England states always screw me up. That, and trying to exactly place Arkansas or some other inland state without any rivers or other markers for guidance. ;)

Fun test though!

RE: Test your knowledge - US geography

Ronald Reagan's 'Tear Down This Wall' Speech
Topic: History 8:33 pm EDT, Jun  8, 2004

] Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate
] West Berlin, Germany
] June 12, 1987
] This speech was delivered to the people of West Berlin,
] yet it was also audible on the East side of the Berlin
] wall.
 . . .
] Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of
] this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the
] entire continent of Europe. From the Baltic, south, those
] barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete,
] dog runs, and guard towers. Farther south, there may be no
] visible, no obvious wall. But there remain armed guards and
] checkpoints all the same--still a restriction on the right to
] travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women
] the will of a totalitarian state. Yet it is here in Berlin where
] the wall emerges most clearly; here, cutting across your city,
] where the news photo and the television screen have imprinted
] this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world.
] Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German,
] separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced
] to look upon a scar.

In regards to the death of President Reagan: I'm reminded of a time that we passed ever so briefly... I was working in Los Angeles at the time, during one of the post-Reagan administrations. I was standing streetside for some reason, probably waiting for a bus. There were few other people on the street, and I became aware of a large black car idling nearby, and then the black-suited and earplugged men who seemed to suddenly appear out of the shadows, standing quietly but obviously very very alert to their surroundings. A few moments later, I saw the reason for the Secret Service, as Reagan emerged from the building, strode briskly across the sidewalk, and smiled and waved at me as I stood there stunned and agape. He quickly entered the car, and then he and the dark ghosts were gone, leaving only the car's tiny puddle of dripped air conditioner condensation in their wake.

I was sorry to hear of his death, though of course it wasn't a surprise. I can't really say whether or not I liked him, but I did respect him, especially since he was President during the time that I was in the USAF, and as such, he was my boss.

And I will spend a moment of silence this Friday, in honor of his memory.

Ronald Reagan's 'Tear Down This Wall' Speech

The CounterRevolutionary
Topic: History 4:58 pm EST, Dec 28, 2003

I love this site. It's a blog of someone who quotes and links news articles from post World War II, during the occupation of Germany. All of the same whining and complaining and finger-pointing that's going on now about Iraq ("There wasn't a plan," "the motives were wrong," "things aren't going as smoothly as they're supposed to," the sky is falling, etc.) were being said then, as well.

Those who do not study history, are doomed to repeat it . . .

The CounterRevolutionary

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